Filmmaker Top Ten Lists, from Fassbinder, Haneke and Almodovar to Scorsese, Tarantino and More

Filmmaker Top Ten Lists, from Fassbinder, Haneke and Almodovar to Scorsese, Tarantino and More

A year before his death in 1982, vigorously prolific German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder — whose filmography includes over 40 films and the epic TV mini-series “World on a Wire” and “Berlin Alexanderplatz” — published a list of his top 10 favorite films. It’s fascinating to see how each of these films influenced him. Fassbinder’s favorite film was Visconti’s “The Damned,” a visually sumptuous portrayal of societal collapse and excess in Third Reich Germany and no doubt an influence on the German auteur’s own “BRD Trilogy,” in particular the bawdy bordello-set “Lola.”

Fassbinder also named Max Ophuls’ 1955 “Lola Montes,” a tragic tale of a kept woman shot in the kind of gloriously rendered color Fassbinder would later employ in his own work. And as with a number of top 10 lists compiled by confrontational filmmakers, Pasolini’s beautifully ugly descent into hell “Salo” was also a favorite of Fassbinder’s, as it is for Michael Haneke.

Haneke’s number one pick, Robert Bresson’s “Au Hasard Balthazar,” is a surprisingly lyrical film given Haneke’s austere style and sadistic regard for his audience. Nevertheless “Balthazar” — a maddeningly allegorical film I have never been able to get my head around, though it will linger there forever — is as elliptical as any Haneke torture piece. Both filmmakers avoid moralizing in their respective explorations of suffering. Upon seeing “Balthazar” in 1966, Jean-Luc Godard said, “This film is really the world in an hour and a half.”

Excerpted after the jump are lists from Fassbinder and Haneke, as well as Pedro Almodovar, whose list offers an interesting counterpart to Fassbinder’s. Both he and Almodovar have sought to consider the queer experience via cinephilia, formal style and colorful, socially-conscious melodrama.

I’ve also included the stalwart top tens of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, two film-historians-as-filmmakers, who love creating these lists. Explore many more over at Sight and Sound. A massive collection has been curated on MUBI as well.

R.W. Fassbinder

1. “The Damned” (1969, Dir: Luchino Visconti)

2. “The Naked And The Dead” (1958, Dir: Raoul Walsh)

3. “Lola Montes” (1955, Dir: Max Ophuls)

4. “Flamingo Road” (1949, Dir: Michael Curtiz)

5. “Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom” (1975, Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini)

6. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953, Dir: Howard Hawks)

7. “Dishonored” (1931, Dir: Josef von Sternberg)

8. “The Night Of The Hunter” (1955, Dir: Charles Laughton)

9. “Johnny Guitar” (1954, Dir: Nicholas Ray)

10. “The Red Snowball Tree” (1973, Dir: Vasili Shukshin)

Michael Haneke

1. “Au Hasard Balthazar” (1966, Dir: Robert Bresson)

2. “Lancelot of the Lake” (1974, Dir: Robert Bresson)

3. “The Mirror” (1975, Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky)

4. “Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom” (1975, Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini)

5. “The Exterminating Angel” (1962, Dir: Luis Bunuel)

6. “The Gold Rush” (1925, Dir: Charlie Chaplin)

7. “Psycho” (1960, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock)

8. “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974, Dir: John Cassavetes)

9. “Germany Year Zero” (1948, Dir: Roberto Rossellini)

10. “L’eclisse” (1962, Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni)

Pedro Almodovar

1. “The Night of the Hunter” (1955, dir. Charles Laughton)

2. “The Rules of the Game” (1939, dir. Jean Renoir)

3. “All About Eve” (1950, dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

4. “Leave Her to Heaven” (1945, dir. John M. Stahl)

5. “North by Northwest” (1959, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

6. “Out of the Past” (1947, dir. Jacques Tourneur)

7. “Midnight” (1939, dir. Mitchell Leisen)

8. “Some Like it Hot” (1959, dir. Billy Wilder)

9. “Touch of Evil” (1958, dir. Orson Welles)

10. “Senso” (1954, dir. Luchino Visconti)

Martin Scorsese

1. “8 1/2” (1963, dir. Federico Fellini)

2. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick)

3. “Ashes And Diamonds” (1958, dir. Andrzej Wajda)

4. “Citizen Kane” (1941, dir. Orson Welles)

5. “The Leopard” (1963, dir. Luchino Visconti)

6. “Paisan” (1946, dir. Roberto Rossellini)

7. “The Red Shoes” (1948, dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)

8. “The River” (1951, dir. Jean Renoir)

9. “Salvatore Giuliano” (1962, dir. Francesco Rosi)

10. “The Searchers” (1956, dir. John Ford)

11. “Ugetsu Monogatari” (1953, dir. Kenji Mizoguchi)

12. “Vertigo” (1958, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Quentin Tarantino

1. “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” (1966, dir. Sergio Leone)

2. “Apocalypse Now” (1979, dir. Francis Ford Coppola)

3. “The Bad News Bears” (1976, dir. Michael Ritchie)

4. “Carrie” (1976, dir. Brian DePalma)

5. “Dazed And Confused” (1993, dir. Richard Linklater)

6. “The Great Escape” (1963, dir. John Sturges)

7. “His Girl Friday” (1940, dir. Howard Hawks)

8. “Jaws” (1975, dir. Steven Spielberg)

9. “Pretty Maids All In A Row (1971, dir. Roger Vadim)

10. “Rolling Thunder” (1977, dir. John Flynn)

11. “Sorcerer” (1977, dir. William Friedkin)

12. “Taxi Driver” (1976, dir. Martin Scorsese)

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Comments

Brian

Looking over all five lists, I count ten films I haven't seen and one I've never heard of (The Red Snowball Tree). Scorsese's and Tarantino's lists are the only ones that offer films (two each) that I might include in my own top ten. I saw nine of the films Tarantino lists when they were first released. It wouldn't hurt current film students to watch all 52 films listed.

Ted

Haneke's list is most surprising. Salo and Exterminating Angel aren't too surprising. Maybe even Cassavetes makes sense. But I would have never figured Haneke would be a Bresson, Tarkosky, or Chaplin fan.

Tarantino's list seems the most predictable of any of the directors, at least in terms of seeing obvious influences.

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